CUTTING HOLIDAY HOME RUNNING COSTS

The type of day-to-day running costs of a holiday home abroad are going to be similar whether it is a villa or apartment you own or are going to buy.

 

Here are some things to consider which may help you save money:

 

  • When buying a property think of the distance you will have to travel to an airport both in this country and your final destination. Do airlines with cheap flights operate out of these airports and are there flights all year round?
  • Remember there will be the cost of leaving your own car in a long-stay car park if you are too far away to make taking a taxi a possibility. This is when regional airports come into their own. If you are near to an airport, friends or family may be willing to take you there for free!!
  • Whether you need to hire a car once you are at your property will depend on your choice of location. Using public transport can be cheap and fun but it needs to be available! If your preferred location for buying is in a more isolated area then you will need to factor in the cost of hiring a car. In some countries this is cheaper than the UK, this being particularly true in Spain.
  • Unless you have mountains of luggage, hire a smaller car than one you may drive in the UK unless you are planning on driving long distances. Popping to the beach or shops doesn’t need a Rolls Royce! Remember out of peak-season cars will be even cheaper!
  • Once you have bought a property abroad, you need to take into consideration what charges will apply even if you don’t use your property all year round. Community fees may be applicable if you share communal pools, gardens, parking, lifts etc.
  • If you have a private pool and/or garden you will need to factor in the cost of maintaining these as well as building maintenance. Heating the pool will add to your costs though many pools in Spain are unheated! Not such a good choice if you intend using the pool out-of-season.
  • Buying a property near to amenities (e.g. bars, restaurants) makes sense if you are sociable types and intend to eat out and experience the local culture. Shanks’s Pony is free and you don’t even need to nominate a designated driver!
  • On the subject of eating out, many restaurants offer “Menu del dia” (Menu of the day). These are great value and often give you the chance to try local dishes. Also remember that small family-run restaurants tucked away from the main tourist areas can be real gems and don’t come with a price premium.
  • Looking in local supermarkets for British-type foodstuffs can add up to a costly shopping basket even if you can find them! Be brave and try out new foods etc. Visiting local food markets can be a rewarding experience.
  • Renting out your property can provide rental return. This is where you need to think of long-term v short-term. With long-term lets, the tenant normally pays the water, electricity, air-conditioning etc. If letting out short-term you need to compare the costs of doing it yourself or through a holiday lettings company. You may be lucky to find someone living locally who will do “changeover day”. Maybe an ex-pat who wants an extra income.
  • Modern properties v old. Building regulations in many countries have changed and specifications now are much higher. Your 10 year Buildings Guarantee will still be fully or partly in force. This can help with the day-to-day running costs. Solar panels in sunny climes can provide low energy costs. In Spain for example many properties have air-conditioning which switches off automatically if you open patio doors, thus saving you large amounts of money. These features may cost more up-front but save you money over a period of time.
  • Use your property outside the main holiday seasons. Flights are cheaper, car hire is cheaper and then you can rent out your property in peak season to get maximum rental income.
  • Buying on a golf course can give you the additional rental from the “Golfers’ season” for those players wanting to escape hostile winters in their own country! So, with careful management, you can finish up with two distinct “High Seasons”.

 

 

One point to remember is that family and friends, however dear they are to you, should not expect to stay for “free” in your property. Yes, charge them a smaller amount than your usual rental fee if you wish, but if they are using your facilities for nil costs ( e.g. pool, air-conditioning, heating), so they get the free holiday whilst these costs have to be accounted for in your own holiday use. Families often want to use your property in peak seasons so be aware that this means not taking rentals for several weeks perhaps when you need to be getting a rental return to help with running costs or funding of your property to be spread over periods of less demand.

 

                NB Please remember any rental income will need to be declared

Keith Pintointernational

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